Not too many days offer pristine clear blue skies, relief from the pressure of hard work and the possibility to go out for a good lurk in the woods with a real good friend. Especially not in the very northern reaches of Sweden where the summer is short, weather’s unstable and waters is cold.
It’s past midsummer and the very first batch of mayflies has just begun emerging from the depths to engage in their aerial games of love.
They love it, them trout love it, but us fishermen love it the most. Not to mention ol’ Greydar who more than surely can be bothered to break the surface when the aftermath of these lovegames lays the tables for the biggest of feasts that mother nature offers annually.
Deep in the woods laid our target. Google maps and a shyly rumour of a 4 kg brown trout was all that we had to rely on. Nils was worried about thick bushes and I was a little too avid. The whole thing just didn’t feel right but it didn’t feel too wrong either.
I’m on about the best, in my opinion, feeling in the world – Engaging a totally unknown river with a flyrod on a day like this. That very first glimpse of the water shatters every image of what the mind in co-operation with expectations has created.
The river is no longer fantasy, it’s not nothing but a fictive image any more, it’s reality. The picture above shows parts of what we saw upon our arrival. The river was wider and slower than I’d expected, my first instinct was to start exploring upstream due to what the wind made the dryfly opportunity look like. We sat down to set up our rods while a swarm of mosquito tried to exploit our nutritious human bodies. Usually mosquitoes are a pain in the ass, but when it comes to fishing it’s just such a good indication that one might be in the right spot.
And it didn’t take more than just a few minutes before we saw the first good fish rising in the small waves. I had a huge struggle to set up my fly rod due to a tangled line, so Nils had to make the move.
With his brand new #4 rod he swung out a streaking caddis which after a couple of attempts got accepted as food for one of the rising fish.
The fish didn’t seem to be very happy about the fact that she got caught.
After landing another Grayling straight after the first one our previous expectations doubled up. As no more rising fish were present, we focused on a point where the river bent a hundred meters ahead. Regarding the winds direction, that would lead us straight into the lee – Thank god for trees!
While walking slowly upstream in the shallow edge of the river, a fish swam up to me and positioned itself just next to my left leg. I didn’t really believe it at first, but it was the finest of trout chilling right next to me, covered in billions of dark brown spots.
He stayed with me just long enough for Nils to see him, then he realized that he might be in a hazardous area and left.
We looked at each other as if we’d just found a 100 dollar bill on the ground. We figured it would be a good idea to stay out of the water in order to not scare the fish. We reached an area were the river opened up and became large, even more slow flowing and really shallow.
It didn’t take long until the next, even bigger trout showed up. But unlike NZ trout, this trout was swimming way to fast for us to react and get the fly out in front of it. So we walked out in the shallow water and swung big crane flies to the edges and waited.
After a while something big nailed my fly, not too disappointing but it wasn’t the trout.
And so the long day turned into evening and the evening into night while loads of fun were had.
As a young boy I spent a lot of time inside my Game Boy playing Pokémon, the epigraph ”Gotta Catch ‘em all” might have been the reason for my obsession with catching fish. And that’s also why the picture above made me think about this…
But Nils doesn’t ”simply” catch fish with a net, oh no.
Later on, we returned to Abisko while listening to ”It was a good day” with Ice Cube!
I returned to the river a couple of days later without Nils… A story that will follow.
That’s all for now, PZ!